Great American Smokeout sends the habit up in smoke

Published 8:28 pm Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Today, during the Great American Smokeout, would be a good time to quit smoking, urge health-care workers and agencies.
The Great American Smokeout debuted in 1976 as an opportunity for smokers to give up the habit for just one day because it was thought that if a person could quit for one day, he or she might be able to give up the habit completely.
Health departments throughout North Carolina County Department of Public Health encourage smokers in their communities to participate and to commit to a long-term plan to quit for good.
“Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disability, disease and death in our nation, responsible for approximately one in five deaths annually, or about 443,000 deaths per year,” said Anne Thomas, health director for the Dare County Department of Public Health in a news release.
The most effective way to quit smoking is to make a plan and get assistance to develop a strategy, according to health-care sources. Within five years of kicking the habit, the risk of premature death is reduced by 50 percent, and after 15 years the risk is the same as someone who never smoked. Quitting tips include identifying triggers and habits, such as an “after-dinner” cigarette, driving and consuming alcohol or coffee.
The following tips should help someone stop smoking:
• Spend time in places where smoking is prohibited, especially the first few days after quitting;
• Drink large quantities of water and fruit juice;
Avoid alcohol, coffee, and other beverages associated with smoking;
• Eat several small meals to maintain blood-sugar levels, avoid sugary or spicy foods that trigger a desire for cigarettes;
• Take deep rhythmic breaths to relax;
• Join a support group;
• Call the Quitline at 1-800-784-8669.
Smokers may contact the North Carolina Tobacco Users’ Helpline at 1-800-QUIT NOW for free assistance to help them quit smoking. They may speak with a professional, licensed counselor for confidential assistance.